Benjamin Ladner, the president of American University, has been placed on paid leave “pending the outcome of an investigation into personal and travel expenses.” Ladner is accused of “us[ing] university funds to pay for the use of a French chef, an engagement party for his son, trips to Europe, and $200,000 in drainage and landscaping work at his home.”
Ladner, of course, is no friend of civil liberties, as FIRE’s run-in with him in 2002 proved. But even someone who denied a student critic the most basic free speech and due process rights still deserves the latter while he is investigated. Kudos to AU for apparently investigating these very serious charges but also not prejudging the outcome. Stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars is the sort of thing a university properly investigates—not private and constitutionally protected e-mails, à la William Paterson University.